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Page last updated on March 4, 2024 at 5:00 pm

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is Ending 

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has begun to wind-down pending the exhausting of the current funds. Community members currently enrolled in ACP will continue to receive the benefit through April. New enrollments are no longer being accepted.

Our office will continue to pursue solutions for affordability, including our Meridiam & Gigabit now partnership.
Through this program, eligible residents can still receive fiber internet for $30/month, even after the end of ACP. The plan citizens receive through this partnership will have upload and download speeds roughly 2x faster than other plans offered locally with similar costs. 
Residents are eligible for our partnership program if they are eligible for one or more of the following federal or state programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); HUD Housing Vouchers (also referred to as Section 8 Vouchers); The Indiana Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); the Indiana Department of Education’s free and reduced-price meals eligibility criteria; Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI); the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision; Medicaid; Federal Public Housing Assistance; WIC; or Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits. 

For more information, visit Gigabit Now's website.
To see if your address can access service, check the map at the bottom of this page

 

Digital Equity and Inclusion Activities

 

 

  • Bloomington recognized as Digital Equity Trailblazer: 20222021, & 2023 

 

 

Digital Equity, Digital Inclusion, and the Digital Divide

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The City of Bloomington has been working diligently for several years to improve the broadband environment in Bloomington.  Digital equity is an important and integral part of this effort. What is digital equity? Digital equity refers to the fair distribution of the internet and modern technology throughout society. Factors that contribute to digital equity include access to the internet; the quality of internet service; the availability of quality computing devices; and one's training, comfort, and ability to effectively use computers and the internet. 

A term you may be more familiar with, digital divide, refers to the disparities in digital equity. Digital equity disparities often mirror other societal equity gaps such as those related to income, race, age, gender, and geographic location, among others. Action taken to mitigate the impacts of digital equity disparities is often referred to as digital inclusion

With the goal of improving digital equity in our community, the City developed a Digital Equity Strategic Plan in 2020. The first major activity in the development of our plan was the creation and administration of a scientific survey of Bloomington residents on digital equity issues and broadband access in April. That survey was completed by 1080 respondents. Building on the results of the survey, we have consulted with stakeholders and the public to draft the strategic plan itself. 

 

Digital Equity Initiative with Meridiam & GigabitNow

Meridiam is now constructing an open access fiber network in Bloomington. As part of this project Meridiam and the City have agreed on a transformational digital equity initiative. These commitments pass through to Meridiam's first ISP on its open access network, GigabitNow. The major features of the digital equity initiative are...

  • At least 250 Mbps up & down, with no bandwidth caps, no bandwidth throttling.
  • Meridiam will hire Digital Equity staff and provide the City with $85k annually into the City's Digital Equity Fund 
  • The Digital Equity program will be available at all Bloomington Housing Authority apartment buildings
  • Eligibility is broad: Residents are eligible if eligible for one or more of the following federal or state programs:
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); HUD Housing Vouchers (also referred to as Section 8 Vouchers); The Indiana Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); the Indiana Department of Education’s free and reduced-price meals eligibility criteria; Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI); the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision; Medicaid; Federal Public Housing Assistance; WIC; or Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits.

For information about ongoing fiber construction and GigabitNow's ISP services, Bloomington residents should call or email GigabitNow Support at support@gigabitnow.com or 1-866-748-8066. More information is available at https://www.gigabitnow.com/bloomington/ including a construction/service status map and a form to indicate interest in the high-speed fiber service

 

Digital Equity Survey

The City of Bloomington conducted a Digital Equity survey assessing how residents use internet services in April 2020. The survey was sent to a randomized sample of 6,500 Bloomington households and was completed by 1,080 respondents. The survey’s full results are available here:  https://bloomington.data.socrata.com/dataset/2020-Digital-Equity-Survey-Data/jiwx-dr92

Some preliminary findings from the Digital Equity Community Survey include:

  • Broadband service is available in Bloomington, but speed, reliability, customer service and cost factors limit adoption. 
  • Low-income households are much more likely to lack internet access or only have internet access through smart phones. 12% of low income respondents never interact with the internet.
  • The homework gap (problems completing homework due to internet deficiencies) is significant for lower bandwidth households
  • Existing subsidy programs from internet service providers aren’t fully being used by eligible residents.
  • Caregivers are concerned about risks and their ability to protect minor children from online harms.
  • Low income residents report a lack of desired computing skills and are interested in training to improve skills.
  • The skills gap is pronounced for low income and older residents.  50% of respondents think they do not have the skills they need to use internet effectively and comfortably.
  • Fully half of respondents said their job requires internet access at home.
  • There is broad support for the City doing more to address digital equity issues and to improve broadband in Bloomington.